Relational Advertising Reaches the Hearts of Your Audience

From the dawn of the consumer age, advertising and marketing campaigns were focused on promoting products through branding—slogans such as “Finger-Lickin’ Good” for Kentucky Fried Chicken or “Taste the Rainbow” for Skittles. Today, by tapping into key audiences, advertisers can personalize the creative image in a way that drives home that message like never before. This is what we call relational advertising.

The Internet has the keen ability to connect people from all walks of life through communication in real-time. In the last few decades online advertising options have grown tremendously and include website banners, subscriber-based eNewsletters, and dedicated eBlasts. We have even seen personal and corporate blogs offer effective advertising not only for the promotion of products, but also for general ideas.

The Internet has therefore changed the way people want to be advertised to; relationships are essential to message reception. Now more than ever, advertising must reach the heart of the audience to stand out above its competitors. Consider the success of the MasterCard “Priceless” campaign. The product is not at the center of the ad, but rather what the individual or family can do with the card. The ad is personal and pulls directly at the heartstrings—the audience finds themselves relating to the product and thinking of ways that perhaps this credit card can improve their lives. Now we can offer that personal touch online to niche audiences, making a timeless advertising concept even more effective.

Does this revolution of technology and relational options mean that we should ignore all advertising notions from the consumer age until now? Of course not. Relational marketing should function as a supplement to branding campaigns and marketing ventures. In other words, you don’t have to choose between branding campaigns and relational advertising; they are concepts that work together.

One major benefit of online advertising is the immediate release of information and content unlimited by geography or time. Yet even more effective is an integrated media campaign. We know that when an advertiser can integrate a print and online campaign, individuals are 36% more likely to take action(according to the Fairfield Research Study).

The benefits of print advertising remain solid. For example, 67% percent of Christianity Today readers say they have visited a website of a product or service they saw advertised within our magazine. If you couple that with a message that speaks directly to the heart of the audience by connecting with them on a personal level, you have a winning combination.

So evaluate all aspects of the audience and the product, and communicate how it will improve the life of the viewer. By creating a message that not only offers the benefits of the product, but also connects on a relational level—like MasterCard did—you can reap the benefits of the campaign for months or even years to come.